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Ok, I'm going to try and explain this the best that I can... I really don't know a whole lot about computers, so here goes nothing! I have a Dell laptop that I got in May, and I used a wireless connection all through the summer in my apartment, and now that I'm at school I've been using a cord to connect my internet (its red and looks kind of like a cord that connects the phone to the wall) and just disabled the wireless because there isn't good wireless around here. So I left at Christmas and for a month used wireless at my parents house, just re-enabling it. Now that I'm back at school I'm using the cord again, and disabling the wireless. When I very first plugged it in, though, it didn't work. It told me a network cable was unplugged, even though I was doing the same exact thing I had done last semester. So I called my friend who knows something about computers, and when she came up she just barely touched the red cord and it started working again. We couldn't figure out what was wrong, but she said that maybe my computer just needed a little while to re-figure out the connection. But last night, all of a sudden, my internet stopped working, and the little icon, down by my clock, that is usually just two computers now has a red x in it and keeps telling me that a network cable is unplugged! I'm really frusterated because I borrowed a friends internet cord to plug it in, because I thought it was maybe just my cord, but it's still not working! I've jiggled the cord, I've switched the ends around, and I got on here and tried to follow some instructions of someone who was having the same problems as me, but I couldn't really understand the directions. Does anyone have any idea what the problem could be? Or should I just take my computer down to IT?

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Last Post by kasilver50
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ShabbyA:

If your friend's "just touching the 'red wire'" did momentarily restore your connection; and if that same connection's has now gone flaky again (your "CABLE UNPLUGGED" message in the TaskBar/Tray), it's just possible that you DO need a replacement cable.

Do you know if the "red wire" is a standard "Ethernet" connection to the school's network? If so, then the cable is probably a CAT-5 (or -5e or -6) Ethernet patch cable. If ity's a patch cable, then the plug you insert into your DELL laptop (Inspiron? Latitude?) would be wider than a standard telephone jack, but would otherwise look very similar to a clear telephone connector.

If the school provides network cables for students to connect, you could just ask IT for a replacement "patch cable" (and of course explain the situation, as you did here). But even if the cable is yours (i.e., you brought it with you to school), a 14-foot Belkin CAT-5 patch cable at Staples is only $12 ($8 for a 7-ft) (http://www.staples.com/); and Walmart has a 14-ft Belkin for $9 (http://www.walmart.com/catalog/product.do?product_id=932040).

Of course if you brought your laptop to IT, they could determine with certainty whether your only problem is the cable.

Good luck!

Ken

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Thank you so much, Ken! Its an Inspiron 6400, and I love it so much, I've never had a single problem with it, so this was so frusterating. Yes, it is an Ethernet cable, and the school gave it to me, so I can just try a "patch" one? I was trying to avoid IT because I've heard horror stories, haha. I guess I'll go down there tomorrow. Anyway, thank you so much!

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Sounds like the data jack might be damaged. Look in the connector. If the pins are not straight then it will need to either go in for service (If you don't have warranty it will be expensive) or you can purchase a PCMCIA NIC (network interface card). Check the wall jack for a good, tight connection also. Another option is to purchase a home WiFi router. Linksys makes nice units for ~$50.
Good luck.
Email me if you have further questions.
jvanark@gmail.com

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yes, either the cable or your laptops ethernet port are broken. The ethernet on my thinkpad is broken and exhibits similar behavior so i got a PCMIA ethernet card for under £40

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Thank you so much, Ken! Its an Inspiron 6400, and I love it so much, I've never had a single problem with it, so this was so frusterating. Yes, it is an Ethernet cable, and the school gave it to me, so I can just try a "patch" one? I was trying to avoid IT because I've heard horror stories, haha. I guess I'll go down there tomorrow. Anyway, thank you so much!

ShabbyA:

Since we spoke, a couple of knowledgeable forum members have pointed out that this MAY not be a sinple cable replacement issue. That the jack or the network card itself (buried inside the Dell) could be the problem. They are wise to alert you to these possibilities. I hoped that the cable would be the culprit--and a simple (cheap) solution.

(1) Did you get to IT and replace the Ethernet "patch cable"?

(2) If so, did you bring it back and connect it, that is: plug it into your Dell and the wall jack? When you connected it to the Inspiron (click here for picture of your machine and exactly where we are looking), did you hear a sharp "click" when it seated in the port?
(3) Is it working? Have you tried to wiggle the jack (just a little :confused:) to be SURE your connection is secure?

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Note: If you didn't get the cable by the time you see this, grab a flashlight and look into the Inspiron's Ethernet port (again look at this so you're looking in the cotrrect port). Try to see if any of the pins look bent or twisted or even broken. They should look like 8 perfectly-aligned parallel gold wires ("pins"), oriented from inside toward you.

If you see any indication of a "less-than-perfect" pin arrangement and you haven't yet tried the "patch cab;e" (or you have, and are still having problems), then heed the advice of the others and ... Get thee and ye beloved Inspiron to IT asap so they can determine the exact extent of the problem.

But if you attached a new cable and it's secure and your connection 's solid, then CHILL! :cool: And hope that a faulty patch cable is the worst problem you have this year at school!

Let us know!

Ken

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